hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Risen 2: Dark Waters

Preview: Swashbuckling and rum drinking in Risen 2

3:00 PM on 02.13.2012 // Steven Hansen
  @dtoidsteven

Pirates -- the swashbuckling sort -- are pretty great. Videogames are pretty great too; the good ones, anyway. For some unfathomable reason, these two things don’t come together as frequently as I would like. Fortunately, Piranha Bytes, creator of the Gothic franchise, is aiming to rectify this oversight.

Risen 2: Dark Waters maintains the team’s lineage of traditional, PC RPGs, but eschews the traditional fantasy fare in favor of something far more piratical, and, perhaps, a bit more accessible, without sacrificing the depth and skill trees associated with the genre.



Risen 2: Dark Waters (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Previewed], PC)
Developer: Piranha Bytes
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release: April 24, 2012


Risen 2 begins with its nameless hero washed up on an island and needing to prove himself as a pirate in order to captain a ship. In this way, it opens up more linearly than its predecessor, allowing the player to get their bearings and organically figure out the mechanics, as opposed to being dumped in a wide open world without any direction. Once the nameless hero acquires a ship, the game opens up entirely, with six different islands to explore at the player’s leisure. They’re not one and done affairs, either, as quests will bring you to different bits of the island or new abilities will allow access to previously blocked off sections.

The ship serves as a hub, much like the Normandy of the Mass Effect series; there is no actual sailing in the game. The crew rest aboard the ship as well, with one mate ready to tag along whenever the captain wishes. The crew mates are specialized, thus making particular members useful for certain segments of the game. Additionally, members can be used to cover any deficiency in the way you build the hero.

Sticking true to its western RPG philosophy, there are a lot of different ways to customize your character. Superficially, you can dress him up in a variety of clothing or fanciful hats. More importantly, however, he can be built to accommodate a variety of play styles, from the swashbuckling swordsman to the ranged gunman to the subversive voodoo practitioner. Within these groups of abilities there is more divergence. For example, choosing whether to focus on slashing or piercing swords, or choosing to augment the main character with an adeptness in alchemy, which would allow you to gather herbs and the like to distill your own rum.

Oh, yes, rum. This is a pirate game after all. Rum is the game’s healing item, and equally useful in greasing up a drunkard for information or help. The first thing I did during my hands-on with Risen 2 was talk with a tippler about getting fresh water loaded to my ship so I could shove off. A bit of rum made this charming, already intoxicated drudge quite chummy, and he informs me that his boss, Butch, is keeping them from loading water, in accordance with some embargo -- though he couldn’t quite pronounce embargo in his drunker slurs.

Conversations are fully voiced and rife with crude piratical jargon, delightful accents, and loads of swear words, all of which is rather charming. It’s also important to listen to the dialogue, as there are things you might be told that are important, but the game won’t explicitly highlight them for you. From the drunkard’s dialogue, for example, I learned there was a desolate, near off cave I could trick Butch into going to with me. Mentioning the cave and insinuating that it might be treasure-filled was one of a bunch of dialogue options, but the only among that group that yielded the desired result, which was a mano a mano sword fight with Butch -- and I didn’t even have to kill him before he gave up!



Reloading the save and talking to the drunkard further also opened up the idea of using voodoo to get my way, an option available because the nameless hero had sided with the natives prior to my hands-on. I went to talk to Butch, distracted him, and pilfered a strand of bead hair. With it and a few other items, I made a voodoo doll, which I then used to assume direct control of Butch and bark orders at the filthy layabouts to load water onto my ship.

With the rest of my time with Risen 2, I mostly wandered about the island, exploring and fighting all manner of nasty little creatures. Thankfully, the game’s inventory does away with encumbrance and let me scavenge to my heart’s content. I don’t know why I got so much joy out of seeing a coconut on the floor and picking it up, but I did.

The combat felt somewhat stilted, as one might expect from an RPG. Playing with the cutlass-clad swashbuckler, I was mostly locking onto enemies and hacking away at them, as well as using the kick command to deliver a nice boot to the face. Also at your disposal is the aptly named “Dirty Trick.” Limited by a recharge time, these can give you an edge in battle. While the one that involved pulling out a pistol and shooting your adversary between sword swipes was deviously fun, my favorite has to be the parrot, which you can send out to temporarily disorient and annoy enemies. This can either render one threat in a group helpless, evening the numbers, or it can be used to distract an enemy while you flee.



While the pirate world in and of itself has me excited, the little hints of personality and charm in the game have me the most excited. At one point, I pulled out my handy voodoo stick and made two gorillas fight each other, allowing me to slip by unnoticed. At another, I found myself being chased down river by a voracious, snapping crocodile. There’s even an adorable pocket monkey, which you assume direct control over and can use to scout an area, get into tight spaces, or steal things.

Risen 2 has a lot of traditional PC RPG aspects, yet its abandonment of the medieval setting that has become so ubiquitous makes it feel surprisingly fresh. The lush, tropical environments are pleasingly vibrant, made more dynamic by some nice mood lighting and the day and night cycle. The characters are crass, affable, and oftentimes humorous -- it’s a nice break from stuffy fantasy dialogue. Everything about Risen 2: Dark Waters just feels so adventurous. I really hope my positive experience with the game is indicative of the final product, because I could really use a new, good pirate game.

Photo Gallery: (6 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Steven Hansen, Features Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dtoidsteven Tips
Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Jish K avatarJish K
Greetings. For I am new. And still struggling to get that dang blog header to change.
From Must Git Gud avatarFrom Must Git Gud
MGSV is looking very good so far! Played to 2% completion last night. Pure stealth seems REALLY hard so far. PS3 version runs fine, loading times are OK, no slow downs, draw distance and pop-in are a bit rough. No glitches. Be prepared! Get it on PS4.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Jealous of all my brethren at PAX Prime. Sad I will miss out on the drinking, orgies and catching the PAX flew. This time next year though, I'll be there! I promise!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Forgot to mention that I celebrated completing Persona 4: Golden by binging on a bunch of totally in-canon doujins. Including, but not limited to, Yu on genderswap't Yosuke. [img]http://i.imgur.com/Ex0MgjW.jpg[/img]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
If you love Splatoon and Transformers you may want to check theyetee.com today. http://theyetee.com/ Let's just say the shirts are... Splatfest themed. [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/j2AnOnQvRZqustSU45JP[/img]
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
BREAKING: Dtoid is at the IGN Lara Croft Go party. You can hold live snakes because why the fuck not, but one snake is missing...
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
someone help i think i'm writing what is going to be my longest blog yet
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[url="http://nintendoeverything.com/yacht-club-on-the-shovel-knight-amiibos-origins-nintendo-on-third-party-figures/#more-216265"]Interview with Yacht Club Games that miiiight basically confirm Shovel Knight isn't getting a Nintendo boss/level?[/url]
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Spent most of my day going back and playing Assassin's Creed: Unity. I really quite enjoyed it. It's a good game.
Bardley avatarBardley
Reserved my copy of The Phantom Pain today and my car died on the way back home. Thanks Konami. On the plus side, I got to ride in a tow truck to the auto shop. Felt like an elementary school field trip or something for a few minutes.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Humble Bundle End of Summer Sale! Get a free Stealth Inc. 2 maybe? I dunno. Just signal boosting for no particular reason. Maybe 'cause I got a free game? Least I could do. https://www.humblebundle.com/store
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I gotta to admit: it feels nice to be able to play a Pokemon game without thinking to myself "oh shit, I got to fill up my Pokedex". It's nice. Oh yeah, and for the record, I'm playing through Soul Silver.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I enter the Gamestop. I set a Toad plushie atop a Yoshi plushie. I set Mario to go down on Kirby. I leave the Gamestop.
gajknight avatargajknight
Niero, just killed a man, Put my dick inside his head, cummed my load and now he's dead. Niero, we had just begun, But now I've gone and thrown it all awayyyyyy. Nierooooooo, ooooooooh.
guitarvillain avatarguitarvillain
That thought sends shivers down my spine.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Lacking recording/social features aside (I actually do love that aspect of the PS4), I've been really enjoying my Xbone. Sunset Overdrive is like Saints Row meets Tony Hawk and lovingly self-aware.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wait, wasn't that Pokemon Detective Pikachu game supposed to come out this year?
sakesushi avatarsakesushi
Humble Bundle End of Summer Sale! They're doing it wrong though, putting up [url="https://www.humblebundle.com/store"]Stealth Inc. 2 for free[/url]
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
Just cleared out a whole village fultoning every single guard. I AM BIG BOSS.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Metal Gear Solid - Marriage - Revengeance [youtube]https://youtu.be/YN470wKT9PM[/youtube]
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Risen 2: Dark Waters


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -